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Old 06-13-2017, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hello: Advice on metal lathe for pen turning.

I have been turning pens for several years now with the component/ kits and have started a website.
I would like to start turning complete pens with a metal lathe. I am looking for advice on which lathe and tools to get. I would like to get one that I don't have to upgrade in a year.

What resources would you recommend?
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You might set a budget, the one you wont have to upgrade in a year is subject to what else you will use it for. I recomend as a minimum 7 x 16 if its only going to be used occasionally for pen parts. If you want to step it up a notch the 8 x 16, 9x 20 and then the 12 x36. If you go with a 12x36 Either Grizzly or Precision Mathews you wont upgrade for a very very long time. You might find an Older American Made lathe like the Atlas/Craftsman, Logan, SouthBend Lathes but you should know what your looking at for wear and tear or know someone who can advise you. Since you asked what lathe I will take it you would need some advice and I would stay away from them. There are some great deals but you can easily buy an expensive boat anchor. I would not recomend the Taig, Unimat, or Sherline lathes for a beginner unless you find one really really cheap. There are people that really like the 11 x 28 Precision Mathews with the 1 1/2 inch spindle bore. Tooling will almost double the cost the lathe. Be prepared.
Life occasionally offers us the opportunity to make very very hard choices. I have had such offers.
Level 6 Pen Wizard, smoke, mirror and sleight of hand enabled.
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just recently replied to a thread much like this one. Check out what people were saying over here:
Little Machine Shop Sieg C3

I have a little baby Grizzly 7x12 lathe that I've been making rings on for the past two years. I've had to put about $100 into it so far (not including tolling which i have about $5,000 in). I can't complain about this, the little $500 lathe runs between 5-12 hours most every week day, and often on weekends as well. I would gladly drop another $600 for the use I have gotten out of this lathe so far. The cheap plastic gears snapped me when I bound up the machine a few months back, and i just replaced the tailstock threads as they had been almost entirely worn out over use. I am looking to upgrade to a Grizzly G0752Z (10x22) 10" x 22" Variable-Speed Lathe with DRO | Grizzly Industrial as I'd like to take on some larger projects, and the extra horse power behind this lathe would make for a lot of help. I am also really wanting a DRO which this model comes with. Also the built in gear box would be a huge improvement.
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome from Mississippi...
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to the IAP! I second everything Mike Redburn stated. Good luck!
Chuck Hutchings
Indianapolis, In.
You can see some pens at http:www.facebook.com/chuckspens
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Checked out your site. Those are beautiful pens Mr Hutchings!
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome to IAP, Charles !!

Your best resource for a small metal lathe and accessories is LittleMachineShop.com

Please give us the address of your website.

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Old 06-14-2017, 03:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome Charles, from Sydney Australia.
Turn that special piece of Timber you have been keeping.
Enjoy it for its true beauty.
Why leave it for others to enjoy without you?

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Old 06-18-2017, 07:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Welcome from Scotland Charles!
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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How are you going with your metal-turning lathe selection ?

You will never be sorry you have a metal-turning lathe.

Here are some tips on using small metal lathes:


In my opinion, the best small bench top metal-turning lathe is the Hi-Torque lathe from Little Machine Shop. I have been using a Sieg C3 (LMS sells that too) for 7+ years, made 750 pens of all types with it. But I wish I had a Hi-Torque (which wasn't available at the time I bought).

If you have won the lottery recently, try this:


Last edited by magpens; 06-19-2017 at 01:20 AM.
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